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The White Flower Of Happiness
by [?]

By Persis Richardson

The King sat in the library of the palace reading an old, old book–a book written when the King’s great-great-grandfather sat on the throne. The King had never seen the book before and it was very interesting to him. For the book told of a strange little plant that had grown in the kingdom in those days of the old, old king.

No matter how hard the people had to work, if the little plant was growing in their homes, they were happy. Indeed, the book said that the flower of the plant was so beautiful that no garden was complete without it; so in the days of the long ago, it grew in the gardens of the rich and the poor, while happiness and prosperity reigned in the land.

Eagerly the king read the description of the little flower that grew on this wonderful plant. It was white as the driven snow. It had heart-shaped petals surrounding a wonderful heart of gold, and it was known as the White Flower of Happiness.

Now the King loved flowers dearly and there were many in his garden; but he was sure he had never seen this little flower. So, because he wanted to have one for his very own and especially because he wanted happiness and prosperity for his people, he determined to find it.

“Surely somewhere in the kingdom there must be a plant left if it grew so common in the days of my great-great-grandfather,” said the King.

Then calling the heralds to him he said:

“Ride forth and search. Go East, and West, and North, and South, and say to my people, ‘Search for the White Flower of Happiness, and when you have found it, bring it to me that I may raise more seeds so that all may have a chance to own it. ‘Tis a little flower, white as the driven snow, with petals that are heart-shaped around a heart of gold.'”

Eagerly the people, both rich and poor, went to work, for they knew of the wondrous beauty of the flower and wished it for their own.

Now there were two people who were very sure they would be first to find the flower. One was a rich woman who loved beautiful things. Her home was the largest of any on the finest street in the royal city. She had many and large gardens, cared for by the best gardeners to be found. Yet in the summer-time, when they were glowing with hundreds of flowers, few there were who could enjoy them. A high hedge surrounded them all and only her friends were permitted to go through the iron entrance gate.

This wealthy woman said to herself: “I will find the flower and it will be easy to keep it secret from all others if I have it here behind the hedge. Then I shall be sure of happiness in the future.”

So all of her gardeners were set to work to search for the White Flower of Happiness. Wherever they found a plant of rare beauty, they bought it hoping that it might be the plant she sought. Seeds of all kinds also were planted. And in the blossoming time there were flowers in the gardens by the thousands–but behind that great wall there was no flower that was white as the driven snow, with heart-shaped petals surrounding a heart of gold.

There was also a man in the kingdom who thought he could surely find the flower. He was a business man.

“If I could find it,” he said, “I would grow more plants and sell them to the people at a great profit. Then I should quickly grow rich and there would be no need for me to work.”

So he set his office force all to work to write letters to the gardeners and seed-growers of the world. They described the little flower and offered large sums for one single plant. But he, too, failed in his search. It was not to be found.